Leaders have praised the level of support shown by a wide section of the community that has led to a one-of-a-kind Albany mental health service keep its doors open. Richmond Wellbeing announced in January the doors to Fellowship House would be closed permanently at the end of March because it had failed to secure funding from the Mental Health Commission for the group sessions it runs. After months of outcry and meetings, the organisation told clients and employees last week that Fellowship House, which has operated in Albany since 1981, had found a way to stay open. It came after a decision by the Richmond board to commit to running the program at loss for the next financial year as it continues to look for a new funding source. Albany mayor Dennis Wellington said it was a win for the community that Fellowship House would continue operating, but it was “disturbing” that State funding had been withdrawn. “Most of the distribution went somewhere else in the State,” he said. “We get very little down here, but it is good that Fellowship House will stay open for a while while they look for alternative funding. “Things are getting more difficult as time goes on to get funding, and that is one of the shortcomings of the system we have.” Member for Albany Rebecca Stephens said it was great to hear there was continued support for Richmond Wellbeing to deliver services in the Albany community. “There has been grassroots support for this service and I’m pleased with the outcome,” she said. Mr Wellington said it was difficult to understand why the funding disappeared because it seemed there was “a decent amount of money to go around”. He said it was always concerning when funding for services stop. “It’s disconcerting that this sort of thing happens and you hope it doesn’t continue into other areas, but it’s always a possibility,” he said.